Credit: Katie Collins / EMPICS Entertainment
The government has invested more than £ 1million in a software tool that will help the NHS Test and Trace program perform diagnostic analysis of coronavirus PCR test data.
Recently released procurement documents reveal that the Ministry of Health and Welfare has signed a one-year contract with specialist lab software company UgenTec. The deal went into effect on July 16 and will be worth £ 1.3million to the company, based in Hasselt, in the Flemish region of Belgium. The government has the option of extending the contract beyond its initial term for two additional 12-month periods.
The tech company will provide software that will aid in the mass analysis of the results of polymerase chain reaction tests – commonly referred to as PCR – for the coronavirus. NHS testing centers all offer PCR testing, which is also available to citizens by post. The results, which typically take a day or two to process, are considered to be more reliable than those obtained by testing rapid firing lateral flow devices.
“As part of Her Majesty’s Government’s emergency response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the [DHSC] needs… software and support services to support the diagnostic interpretation of [PCR] data created by diagnostic facilities, ”says the contract. “The vendor is a provider of results analysis software and support services and has experience in providing these services to large organizations. “
The agreement only covers the use of UgenTec’s software for purposes related to the diagnosis of Covid-19, but the government can make a “change request … to reuse the modules for different diagnostic capabilities, [such as] common flu ”. Such changes may be billed differently, depending on the contract.
UgenTec, which supplied its technology to a number of hospitals and public health agencies during the pandemic, says its diagnostic software provides “artificially intelligent algorithms that automatically and accurately call up PCR curves and cluster charts ”.
The company, founded in 2014, also offers tools to support veterinarians and those working in the field of agricultural economics.